I’m new to the hospitality industry. If you’d told me 10 years ago my husband and I would have a glamping business on a farm I would have called you crazy. But here we are.
Most of us have practiced hospitality when inviting friends and family into our homes for a stay or a meal. We welcome them in a warm and friendly way. My husband, Houston, is great at this. On our property, he’s such a natural when welcoming guests. Whether it’s for a farm tour or just to wave hello from a distance, guests almost always comment on his friendliness. His introverted nature takes a backseat in order to make them feel comfortable and welcome. He’s the go to person for private farm tours. He’s knowledgeable about the animals, but he also genuinely wants people to have a great time, young and old.
I, on the other hand, practice hospitality behind the scenes. I always send a welcome packet that explains what to bring, what to expect, things to do in the area, etc. I communicate with guests before, during and after their stay, making sure they have everything they need and seeing if there’s anything that would enhance the glamping experience on our property. I also try to think of what would be helpful for them to have inside the tent and see if they’d like a cake for a special occasion.
As I reflect on the way we each practice hospitality, I realize Houston’s been a good model for me. I’m learning to think about what each guest would enjoy. Sometimes that means I let young children feed the pigs when it would be simpler and faster to do it myself before the tour begins. But then the kids would miss out on a fun experience. I’m also learning to work with Houston as a team. During a farm tour last week, I could tell the young boys, ages five and seven, were getting bored with the talk of how we started our farm to table event space, so I walked with them over to the hydroponic towers and told them about the system and showed how it worked.
Sometimes I feel like Houston is the better host because it’s easier and more natural for him than me. But then I remember that we’re gifted in different ways. We’re a team and it’s good that we have different strengths. We complement each other in a way that I hope helps each guest feel valued and welcome.
Sherry Asbury Clark is Co-Founder of Purdon Groves and a freelance writer. Her column, Finding Myself in a Small Town, appears each week in the Corsicana Daily Sun. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Purdon Groves, a farm, table, venue and retreat property, check out www.purdongroves.com or visit their Instagram or Facebook pages.